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Boehner 13, Us 8, Wayne Lapierre 8, Lindsey Graham 6, Mr. Lapierre 6, Nra 5, Schumer 5, Dianne Feinstein 5, New York 4, Advair 4, Chuck 4, Chuck Hagel 4, U.s. 3, Greece 3, Israel 3, Asa Hutchinson 3, Adam Lanza 3, Chuck Schumer 3, Washington 3, Virginia 3,
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  MSNBC    Meet the Press    News/Business. A moderator  
   interviews a leading public figure. (CC)  

    December 23, 2012
    11:00 - 12:00pm PST  

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>> announcer: from nbc news in washington, the world's longest running television program, this is "meet the press" with david gregory. >> good sunday morning. it's been nine days since the
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tragic shooting at sandy hook elementary in newtown, connecticut and the debate over gun control has been revived. here with us exclusively this morning, the man at the center of that debate, the ceo and executive vice president of the nra, wayne lapierre. who is answering questions for the first time since the shooting. i want to get right to it. welcome back to the program. >> you promised that the nra would offer meaningful contributions to make sure this never happened again. this was your message. >> the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. >> you proposed armed guards in school. we'll talk about that in some detail in a moment. you confronted the news media, you blamed hollywood and the gaming industry but never once did you concede that guns could actually be part of the problem. is that meaningful contribution, mr. lapierre, or a dodge?
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>> david, i said what i honestly thought and what hundreds of millions of people all over this country will believe will actually make a difference. i can't imagine a more horrible tragedy. we all have 5-year-olds in our family in some way. we all put ourselves in that situation and have tears in our eyes. the nra, we have 11,000 police training instructors, 80,000 police families, we're 4 million members and we set down and we said what can we do will actually make a difference today to make these kids safe? >> but not conceding guns play any role about the meaningful contribution? >> look, i know there's a media machine in this country that wants to blame guns every time something happens, i know there's an anti-second amendment industry in this town, and political leads that for 20
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years try to say it's because americans own guns. what every mom and dad will make them feel better when they drop their kid off in school in january is if we have a police officer in that school, a good guy, that if some horrible monster tries to do something, they'll be there to protect them. >> we'll talk about that and more specifics but you're talking about some of the old complaints you make against the news media and such. nobody said it's only about gun, not the president or anybody else. i'd like to get to some the reaction to you on friday. a lot of people were frankly shocked by your presentation. here was the "the new york post," a conservative publication, and there's the headline "gun nut, nra loon in bizarre rant." and "the hartford courant." chris murphy "walking out of another funeral and was handed the statement. the most tone deaf statement i've ever seen. just the reaction to the
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reaction to your words? >> if it's crazy to call for putting police and armed security in our schools, then call me crazy. i think the american people think it's crazy not to do it. it's the one thing that will keep people safe and the nra is going to try to do that. we're going to support an immediate appropriation before congress to put them in school and we're going to work with asa hutchinson who has agreed to work with us, drawing on retired military, drawing on retired police, on former secret service and all these people that can actually go in and make our kids safe. that's the one thing that we can do. >> the one and only thing? you don't think guns should be part of the conversation. >> i think that's the one thing that will immediately make our children safe. >> is it the only thing? >> gun control, you could ban all dianne feinstein, do
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whatever she wants to with magazines, it's not going to make any kid safer. we got to get to the real problem, the real causes and that's what the nra is trying to do. i have people all over the country calling me and saying, wayne, i went to bed safer last night because i have a firearm. don't let the media try to make this a gun issue. >> that's argument, it not fact. >> it is fact. >> a feeling is not fact. a feeling is a sense of reassurance, that's not what you're presenting. let's talk more specifically about what you're talking about, armed guards in school. there are successful examples. fairfax county, virginia has armed officers. there are examples where it hasn't worked. the columbine tragedy, it didn't stop the carnage. >> there were armed guards there and they didn't go in. they were under orders that if something happened they were to call the police for backup. >> they exchanged fires with the
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shooters. >> they waited for the s.w.a.t. team to show up and the s.w.a.t. team sat outside and tried to figure out what to do. every procedure has been changed since columbine as a result of that. >> they exchanged fire with the shooters. your principle of having armed guard was the true at columbine, was it not? >> they've changed every police procedure since columbine. i don't understand why you can't just for a minute imagine that when that horrible monster tried to shoot his way into sandy hook school that if a good guy with a gun had been there, he might have been able to stop him. >> i'm just trying to test your views here, mr. lapierre about how it would actually work. how many do you think you have to have on campus and where? is it sufficient to have them at the front of the school? >> that's up to our police. our police do this every day. they protect the president, the secret service does. they protect the capitol, they protect office buildings. most of the media -- i know you
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don't have armed guards here but most of the media when i go around this country, they're protected by armed guards. why can't we protect our most precious research? there was a secret service study that was done. you know what it showed? it showed that the police trying to get there in time only stop 25% of the shooters. the rest of them are either stopped by somebody in the system or they turn the gun on themselves. that's a pretty darn good argument for putting a good guy in the system somewhere with a gun to help our kids. >> again, it may be the case. do you allow volunteers or do they have to be police officers? would you have volunteer forces there? >> i think you need police immediately because that's something that we can get done and i think what congressman asa hutchinson is going to look to do, and he got there long. we called him, deputy director of home land security, he's going to put together a program like they had in israel. israel had a whole lot of school shootings until they did one thing. they said we're going to stop it and they put armed security in
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every school and they have not had a problem since then. let's make our kids safe. let's not argue about this endless argument about gun control. >> would you concede as good of an idea as you think this is, it may not work because there have been cases where armed guards have not prevented this kind of massacre, this kind of carnage. you would concede that point, wouldn't you? >> i'm saying that if i'm a mom or a dad -- >> you're saying we ought to try. >> if i'm a mom or dad, i'd feel a whole lot safer with these great men and women on police forces -- >> you have to concede it may not work. >> nothing's perfect, david but, gosh, it's going to be better -- >> who pays? a third of the school already have armed policemen or armed guard there. would the nra be prepared to help financially? is it a budgetary matter feasible? would federal grants be necessary to provide this kind of fire power? >> we have all kinds of foreign aid we do. my gosh, we're doing $2 billion to train the police in iraq right now. with all the money in the
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federal budget, if we can't come up to do this, there's something wrong. we fund the child safety program right now as a model of the school for kids too young to be around guns. it teaches them if you see a gun, stop, leave the area. we have child accidents down to the lowest level ever in history. >> here's something you said on friday that struck me because this is really the nub of the argument about armed security. what if when adam lanza started shooting his way into sandy hook elementary school last friday he'd been confronted by qualified armed security? will you at least admit it's possible that 26 little kids, that 26 innocent lives might
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have been spared that day? is it so abhorrent to you that you'd rather continue to risk the alternative? >> because that's your standard is that fewer people should be killed. that's the goal here. and the standard is if it's possible, your words, if it's possible that lives could be spared, shouldn't we try that. that's your standard, isn't it? >> i'll tell you my standard is this -- you can't legislate morality. legislation works on the sane, the law abiding. it doesn't work on criminals -- >> if it's possible to reduce the loss of life, you're up for trying it? >> there are monsters out there every day and we need to do something to stop them. >> if it's possible to reduce the loss of life, you're worth trying it, correct? >> i want it. that's what i'm proposing. >> let's stipulate you're right. let's say armed guards might work. let's widen the argument a little bit. here is a magazine for ammunition that carries 30 bullets. isn't it possible that if we got
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rid of these, if we replaced them and said can you only have a magazine that carries five bullets or ten bullets, isn't it just possible we could reduce the carnage in a situation like -- >> i don't believe that's going to make one difference. there are so many ways to evade that. you had that for ten years when dianne feinstein passed that ban in '94, it was on the books. columbine occurred right in the middle of it. it didn't make any difference. i know everyone -- this town wants to argue about gun control. i don't think it's what will work. what will work is this, i'll tell you this -- >> this is a matter of logic. anybody watching this is going to say i just heard mr. lapierre say the standard is we should try anything that might reduce the violence and you're telling me it's not a matter of common sense that you if you don't have an ability to shoot off 30 rounds without reloading that just possibly you could reduce the loss of life, that adam lanza may not have been able to shoot as many kids if he didn't have as much ammunition? >> i don't buy your argument. there are so many different ways
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he could done it, endless amount of ways a monster -- >> a federal judge wrote in the los angeles times "bystanders got to tucson shooter jared loughner and subdued him only after he emptied one 31-round magazine and was trying to load another. adam lanza, the newtown shooter, chose at his primary ammunition. how is this not an argument for regulating the number of rounds a gun can fire? i get it. someone bent on mass murder who has only a ten-round magazine or revolvers at his disposal probably is not going to abandon his plan and try to talk his problems out. but we might be able to take the "mass" out of mass shooting or at least make the perpetrator's job a bit harder. >> i don't think it will. i keep saying it and up just won't accept it. it's not going to work. it hasn't worked.
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dianne feinstein had her ban and columbine happened. we have a mental health system in this country that's completely collapsed. we have no national database of these lunatics. 23 states -- how long ago was virginia tech? 23 states are still putting on a small number of records into the system and a lot of states are putting none. so when they go through the national instant check system and they go to try to screen out one of those lunatics, the record are not even in the system. i talked to a police officer the other day, he said, wayne, every police officer walking the street knows some lunatic out there, some mentally disturbed person that ought to be in an institution is out walking the street because they dealt with the institutional side, they didn't want mentally ill in institutions so they put them all back on the street and nobody thought what happens when you put all these mentally ill people back on the streets and what happens when they start taking their medicine? we have a completely cracked
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mentally ill system that's got these monsters walking the streets and we've got to deal with the underlying causes and connections if we're ever going to get to the truth in this country and stop this. >> a lot of people would agree with that, there a lot of difficulties with regard to getting that kind of mental health information because there's privacy laws, states not contributing to a national registry. isn't part of the issue background checks? you got 40% of sales that go on without any background checks. are you prepared for broader background checks if you don't think the ammunition road is the way to go? >> we have backed the national instant check system, backed putting anybody mentally adjudicated into the system. you're going to go into the oh, it's a gun show loophole. it is illegal for felons to buy guns. what the anti-second amendment movement wants to do is put every gun sale in the country under the thumb of the federal government. congress debated this at length. they said if you're a -- a
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hobbyist or collector, a hunter in virginia wants to sell the gun to another hunter, they ought to be able to do it without being under the thumb of the federal government. >> if you want to check and screen more thoroughly for the mentally ill, why not screen more thoroughly for everybody and eliminate the fact that 40% can buy a weapon without a background check? >> we don't prosecute anybody under the gun laws right now. >> that's not responsive to the question. i hear you saying you can't do anything about high capacity ammunition magazines because it simply won't work yet you're proposing things that might not work. you're standard is anything that has a chance of working we ought to try except when it has to do with guns or ammunition. don't you see that people see that as a complete dodge? >> nra supports what works.
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we have accidents down to 1/10 what they used to be. we have supported prison building, supported projects where every time you catch a criminal with a gun, a drug dealer with a gun, a violent felon with a gun, you prosecutor them 100% of the time. if you want to control violent criminals, take them off the streets. that's what every police officer out there knows works. we supported instant check systems, getting the records into the instant check system. >> even the instant check system has huge holes just like the mental health registry. >> the biggest single hole right now if you're a felon and you walk into a gun store and you try to buy a gun and they go, oh, you're a felon and we're going to turn you down, they let you walk out and they don't prosecute you. it's like bonnie and clyde. it like clyde goes in and tries to buy a gun. he goes back to bonnie and said i got bad news, they didn't sell me a gun. the good news is they let me go, they didn't do anything to me. they go about and commit their crime. >> is senator feinstein's bill
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to revive the assault weapon ban going to pass? >> i think that is phoney legislation. i do not believe it will pass for this reason. it's all built on lies. my gosh, people in the media, i revere their communication skills but they have an obligation to be factually truthful. everything these politicians are saying about that is not true. they say see guns are more powerful, not true, that they leave bigger holes, not true, that they're weapons of war, not true. everything they are saying, they say they are military guns like our soldiers use. that's not true. >> i haven't said any of those things this morning. >> i know. >> our conversation is about what i'm asking. you think it won't pass and you wouldn't support any reduction of capacity magazines? we don't think it works and we're not going to support it. i was in a cnn studio and they
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started running this footage of somebody shooting dianne feinstein's guns and saying these are the guns the nra wants to put back on the streets. i said i challenge the man from cnn to defend this story because you faked the story. they went to the range the following monday and showed the fire arms that were on dianne feinstein's ban list shoot no different and perform no different than the one she doesn't want. it all a lie. >> what about being part of this panel by the president. are you interested in a conversation with the administration about gun safety measures? >> if it's gun safety i think the best person to represent the nra is congressman asa hutchinson on that. if it's a panel that's just going to be made up of 20 people that for the last year that have been trying to destroyed the second amendment, i'm not interested in sitting on that panel. the american people support the freedom. nra is not going to let people
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lose the second amendment in the country. >> is there any new gun regulation that you could support? >> i'll tell what you would work right now. tomorrow morning, and the nra would be there every step of the way, if president obama would walk in and tell the attorney general of the united states to tell every u.s. attorney if you catch a drug dealer on the street with a gun, prosecute him and take him off the street, violent felon, violent criminal, take him off the street. >> so there's no new gun regulation you would support? >> this is what would work. >> i'm asking you a direct question. is there any new drug regulation you would want to support. >> i am giving you the answer. >> if there is a new regulation, after the debates of the 90s and today, could we make the assault weapon ban better -- >> you want one more law on top of 20,000 laws when most of the federal gun laws we don't even enforce. if every u.s. attorney would do only ten cases a month that,
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would be 12,000 cases. if they would do 20 a month, it would be 24,000 cases. that would get the worst people in the country that are killing people off the street. right now, david, do you know how many cases we're doing in the whole country on prosecuting under all the federal gun laws? take a guess. take a guess. >> you tell me. >> 6,000. it's pitiful. and the drug dealers and the gangs and the criminals know it and they go about their business and there are 25,000 violent crimes a week in the country and at the scene of the crime is the criminal and -- >> isn't it striking, mr. lapierre, that your goal is to reduce violence in this country and i think back to the reaction after the oklahoma city bombing, the reaction after 9/11. nobody said there was one thing that was going to work. look at how extensive the federal government actions they thought, some worked, some don't. the feeling was they were worth
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trying. that was your standard. that's what you said on friday. if it's worth trying, why not do it. that's your position on armed guards and a lot of people would agree with you yet nothing will having to do with gun safety and up seem to excuse the role that guns play in violence in in society. >> the gun is the tool. the problem is the criminal. every police officer that walks the street knows if you want to control violent crime, take violent criminals off the street. richmond, virginia, they had one of the worst murder rates in the country until they put out the word if you're a drug dealer on the street with a gun, we're going to pick you up and you're going to federal prison. they immediately cut murder with guns by about 60%, 70%. criminal operate outside the system. you got to get them off the street and into treatment. we're not doing this in this country. >> has the environment changed, mr. lapierre? the supreme court has confirmed gun owner rights in this country, mayor bloomberg was on
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the program last week saying you tried to get the president not to be reelected, you failed in this effort. he says you don't have the clout that you had politicly in this town in past debates. >> the american people, i know one thing about them, they value their freedom. when the reality of the consequences of what the politicians in this town and the media and elites want to do to their rights and take them away, i think they'll do what they've done historically, defend the freedom. the american public knows the scene of the crime, it's a criminal and a victim. all these politicians and people like mayor bloomberg, new york city, if you're rich and you're famous, you get your permit, if you're a .300 hitter with the mets, you get a permit, a big developer, you get a permit, wall street executive, you get a
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permit, the mayor's buddy, you get your permit. if you're a guy in the bronx, most in need of protection, you're flat out of luck. we're about the average guy, the noncelebrity, the non .300 hitter. the average guy in the country values his freedom, doesn't believe he can own a gun as part of the problem and doesn't like the media and high-profile politicians blaming him -- >> do you have the same clout you've always had politically if. >> our support is always the americans people, decade in and out. the strength of the nra is the american public and i believe they are on our side to defend freedom. >> bottom line, if there is an approach after newtown that includes mental health, that includes gratuitous violence in our media, in our gaming industry and includes gun regulations, will you support it or oppose it? >> we are going to support what works, putting an armed guard in every single school, we're going to try to fix the mental health system, we're want people prosecuted, and we're going to
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protect the american people i think that's why people join the nra to protect their freedom. >> mr. lapierre, thank you for your views. >> thank you for having me. >> coming up, does the gun control debate have new momentum or will it suffer the same fate it has in the past? joining me democratic senator chuck schumer and republicans senator lindsey graham. >> plus, eight day before the fiscal cliff. what are the prospects for a solution? that's ahead. >> plus, eight day before the mi fiscal cliff. mi fisca[ male announcer ] citi turns 200 this year. in that time there've been some good days. and some difficult ones. but, through it all, we've persevered, supporting some of the biggest ideas in modern history. so why should our anniversary matter to you? because for 200 years, we've been helping ideas move from ambition to achievement.
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since we announced we wer since we announced we were going to have the nra's wayne lapierre on the program, we received so much feedback on line, more than 40,000 saw this post alone. we'll continue to monitor that conversation online. tell us what you saw on the interview at facebook.com/meetthepress or on twitter.
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in the meantime, we're going to find out what these two gentlemen thought when we come back, senators chuck schumer and lindsey graham with reaction right after this short break. men try running four.ning a restaurant is hard, fortunately we've got ink. it gives us 5x the rewards on our internet, phone charges and cable, plus at office supply stores. rewards we put right back into our business. this is the only thing we've ever wanted to do and ink helps us do it. make your mark with ink from chase. hi, i'm ensure clear... clear, huh? i'm not juice or fancy water. i've got nine grams of protein. that's three times more than me! [ female announcer ] ensure clear. nine grams protein. zero fat. in blueberry/pomegranate and peach. can i still ship a gift in time for christmas? yeah, sure you can. great.
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we're back with senator chuck schumer of new york and lindsey graham. senator schumer, your reaction to wayne lapierre.
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he is saying any attempt the president makes at gun control legislation is bound to fail because it won't work and it's just a bunch of old arguments. how do you react? >> i think he's so extreme and so tone deaf that he actually helps the cause of us passing sensible gun legislation in the congress. look, he blames everything but guns, movies, the media, president obama, gun-free school zones, you name it, the video games, he blames them. now, trying to prevent shootings in schools without talking about guns is like trying to prevent lung cancer without talking about cigarettes. he is so adamant that i believe gun owners turn against him as well. look, he says the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. what about trying to stop the bad guy from getting the gun in the first place. that's common sense, most americans agree with it and i just think he's turning people off.
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that's not where america is at and he's actually helping us. >> senator graham, there are nra supporters, colleagues in the senate who are saying, look, let's not just make this a conversation about guns, it's got to be a broader conversation but i heard wayne lapierre say, no, he will not sign on to any new gun legislation. do you believe him? >> i don't think there's anybody in the country that doesn't feel sick in their stomach. i can't imagine a worse situation than getting a call as a parent saying something that happened at school, a shooting or anything else and you go there and your child is killed. so let's just start with that understanding. here's the conversation, we can talk all day long, we had an armed guard in columbine, an assault ban, neither worked. we're talking about preventing mass murder by nontraditional criminals, people who are not traditionally criminal, who are not wired right nor some reason.
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i don't know if there's anything lindsey graham can do in the senate to stop mass murder that's hell bent on murdering -- >> but there's got to be -- that can't be the default of legislators in our country that, there's not a public policy role to address mass violence when we've had the number of mass shootings even since 2007 that are show shocking. the question from wayne lapierre is what did the assault weapon ban accomplish, preventing high-capacity magazines. that's something you're challenged by. >> the amount of gun violence since we passed the assault weapons ban and the brady law is down considerably. is it as good as it should be? absolutely not. but we have to keep working on this.
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and there are lots of different solutions. the pro-gun people who say don't include guns and the pro safety people like myself who say don't look at other solutions is wrong, just as you said on your show. we have look at a holistic solution. we cannot make the new normal one of these mass shootings every month and that seems to be what's happening. so much we should try all kinds of different things. >> so what do you do differently here? the american people have been here before, had you a weapons ban for ten years, it expires. does the president want this fight? if he wants it, how is he going to win it? there a lot of difficulties getting a weapons ban through, questions but who it would work and even banning the high capacity magazines. what do you do differently than what you've done before? >> how were we able to pass the brady law and assault weapon ban in the mid 90s? the average citizen was fed up with crime and on our side. because of those laws and other laws crime declined. now that these mass shootings
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seem to be almost the new normal, i think the broad middle will rise up and that will help us. in the last ten years the whole debate has been dominated by the small but militant number 3 million, 4 million nra people in the -- >> as a republican, do you think the nra has the same clout to be absolutist about this, even if it means searching compromise it is may not look and maybe the entertainment industry has to accept compromises it may not like. >> i own an ar-15. the question is if you deny me the right to buy another one, do you make it safer? you try to get murderers off the street by better mental health detection, try to find ways that understands them who they are.
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i don't suggest we ban every movie with a gun in it and every video that's violent and i don't suggest you take my right to buy an ar-15 away from me because i don't think it will work and i do believe better security in schools is a good place to start. >> would you ban high-capacity magazine, senator? >> the whole goal is to interrupt the shooter, right? changing a magazine, can i do that pretty quick. the best way to interrupt the shooter is to keep them out of the school and if they get out of the school, having somebody who can interrupt them through armed force. i don't want to sit here and tell you we're one law away from solving this problem. this problem runs deep and runs wide. i live in south carolina, i live in new york. i understand how he was brought up. but people where i live other than christmas shopping all weekend have come up to me please don't let the government take my guns away and i'm going to stand against another assault
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ban because it didn't work before and it won't work in the future. >> i know we could talk about this indefinitely. but i want to move on and get to another seemingly intractable debate and that's the fiscal cliff. congress has left town and there's no deal here. senator schumer, the president is now proposing a smaller deal. are we going to avoid the fiscal cliff by the first of the year or not? >> i hope so. if you look at the final positions last monday of both the president and speaker boehner, they were this close, they were this close to a solution. the president was about $200 billion higher on revenues, speaker boehner $200 billion higher on spending cuts. out of a $4 trillion budget, that doesn't seem insurmountable. so i hope they would keep talking. my one bit of advice to speaker boehner is this -- you cannot pass a bill with just republicans. on a broad thing like this, you need both and he has put himself with plan b in sort of an impossible position. he has to get these hard right
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guys to go along with him. if he were to say and the president were to say we're going to pass a bill with a majority of democrats and majority of democrats in the house and senate we could get a mainstream bill. i know he's worried about his speakership but what i found in my 37 years as a legislator, when you show leadership, when you show redirection and courage, even people who disagree with you will vote for you for speaker. i would urge speaker boehner to abandon this plan b strategy and work on a bipartisan solution. >> senator graham, the question for you is could you vote for a bill that extended tax cuts for 250,000 and below, extended unemployment insurance as the president wants to do and in some way delays some of these automatic spending cuts? could you vote for that in the short term? >> no. if you want leaders, then you have to lead the president has been a pathetic fiscal leader.
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he's produced three budgets and can't get one vote for any of his budgets. boehner will be tip o'neill. obama needs to be ronald reagan. would i vote for revenues, including tax rate hikes, even though i don't like them to save the country from becoming greece but i'm not going to set aside the 1.2 trillion in cuts. any hope of going over the fiscal cliff must start in the senate. not one democrat would support the idea that we could protect 99% of americans from a tax increase. boehner's plan b i thought made as soon as. to my republican colleagues, the ronald reagan model is if you get 80% of what you want, that's a good day. i like simpson-bowles. the president is going to get tax rate hikes. to my republican colleagues, if we can protect 99% of the public from a tax hike that, is not a tax increase in my book. chuck, maybe you and me and some other people in the senate can find a way to find this on the
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short term but on the long term there's not going to be a deal >> you think we're going to go over the cliff? >> i think we're going to fall out of the fiscal tree. the big chance at the big deal is at the debt ceiling. that's when we'll have leverage to turn the country around, prevent from becoming greece and save social security and medicare. to anybody listening, i will raise the debt ceiling only if we save medicare and social security from insolvency and prevent this country from becoming greece. no more borrowing until we know why we're in debt to begin with. >> let me say this. i don't think that using the debt ceiling and defaulting on our debt, my dear friend lindsey graham, one. my best friends in the senate, is the way to go. that's risking the united states. the president has said he is not going to hold the credit of the united states so someone can achieve a political agenda.
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don't count on bargaining over the debt ceiling. on taxes, i know it's hard for the republicans but the president ran on that platform, 250, no tax increase for people below but taxes for people above. 60% of the voters said they were for it in the exit polls, including some republicans and yet our republican colleagues by refusing to go along with revenues are risking the fiscal cliff and make no mistake about it. if we go over, god forbid and i still don't think we have to, the american people are going to blame the republican party and they'll come right back and pass something. so i don't think the middle class is at risk. if we go over the cliff, our republicans colleagues will come back and go uh-oh and pass the bill we passed in senate already. >> can chuck hagel become secretary of defense if he's the president's nominee? >> a lot of republicans have asked hard questions. i don't think he's going to get many republicans votes. i like chuck but his positions
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are really out of the mainstream and well to the left of the president. i think it would be a challenging nominations but the hearings will matter. chuck will have a chance to defend himself. >> will you support him? >> i'm going to wait and see what happens in the hearings. i've got questions with chuck and iran, hamas and hezbollah, his position toward israel, just afghanistan. i want to hear what he has to say. but very troubling comments by a future secretary of defense. >> senator schumer, should the president make that nomination? >> well, that's his choice. i think once he makes it his record will be studied carefully, but until that point i think we're not going to know what's going to happen. >> can you support him? >> i'd have to study his record. i'm not going to comment until the president makes a nomination. >> we're going to leave it there. gentlemen, happy holidays to you both. thank you both very much for your time. i appreciate it. the fiscal cliff talks, cabinet changes, what will define president obama's agenda at the first of the year?
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and my round table will join me, representative jason chaffetz, harold ford, jr., andrea mitchell and chuck todd. back in a moment. joi why do toys for tots and hasbro trust duracell to power their donated toys? duralock power preserve. it locks in power for up to 10 years in storage. guaranteed. duracell with duralock. trusted everywhere. i don't have to leave my desk and get up and go to the post office anymore. [ male announcer ] with stamps.com you can print real u.s. postage for all your letters and packages. i have exactly the amount of postage i need, the instant i need it. can you print only stamps? no... first class. priority mail. certified. international. and the mail man picks it up. i don't leave the shop anymore. [ male announcer ] get a 4 week trial plus $100 in extras including postage and a digital scale. go to stamps.com/tv and never go to the post office again.
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nobody gets a hundred percent of what they want. everybody's got to give a little bit in a sensible way. we move forward together or we don't move forward at all.
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so as we leave town for a few days to be with our families for the holidays, i hope it gives everybody some perspective. >> that was the president of course. we're back with our roundtable. joining me congress jason chaffetz of utah, former democratic congressman of tennessee, harold ford, jr., chuck todd and nbc correspondent andrea mitchell. we'll talk about guns in a minute. let's talk about the fiscal cliff. are we going to get a deal here? >> we're going to get a small deal. it's a shame. you wonder is the only thing that could change things, the holidays, does it change boehner's mind? i think the president is making a mistake to make small deal. he should try one more time for the big deal. you had nearly 200 house republicans about to vote to raise taxes on millionaires.
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that means could you get it up from 400 to 750? a deal is within reach. he's got to figure out -- i think go one more time. they seem to have had it and they don't want to try boehner one more time but i think they're making a big mistake. >> congressman, if he puts down a bill that requires democrats to get it pass, there will be a revolt. >> my frustration is with the democrats because the house republicans, our conscience is clear. in august we passed a bill to extend all of the tax rates. we did deal with the fiscal cliff issues weeks have passed that. it's harry reid and the president that have yet to come up with something. if it was so easy, if they thought they had a solution to it, why didn't on friday they come to the table and actually pass something? the pressure is on them, what can they pass in the senate? >> harold, you know the politics of this but you also know the markets and how they've been reacting and wall street and corporate america more generally.
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is there new pessimism that we're, a, not going to get a deal and not solve the issue anyway? >> big disappointment. people outside of washington understand clearly. a couple hundred billion over ten years separating both sides. the question becomes can washington still govern itself? two, there's a realization we're in the middle of a small recovery. if we find ourselves not able to resolve this moment, it retards and slows and undermines what we see ourselves doing going forward. finally, for the life of me as someone who served there, it was so distressful to watch both sides yell at each other. i feel sorry for speaker boehner. i've seen some of your colleagues who are a little unreasonable and i dare say some democrats who are unreasonable. what does it take to make them come together if they can't come together at this moment as close as they are. >> durable goods is up, the
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housing market is beginning to come back. the economy is poised. but the stock market is going to react. i can't predict, don't have the knowledge, no one does, as to what exactly is going to happen but chuck is right. the white house should get over its upset with boehner and help bail him out. one question about john boehner and eric cantor and the rest of them, if leaders can't count, what can they do. how they went ahead with plan b knowing they didn't have the votes, i mean, that is sort of 101 in politics. >> make them reject one more time. make boehner and the republicans reject one more time. >> there's no real partner here. here's the broader question and it includes the gun debate. what are the president's priorities going to be after the first of the year? congressman, you heard wayne lapierre. does he reflect your views about how to approach any kind of remedy after a massacre like newtown, which is we should talk about everybody but guns?
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>> my wife and i, we have three kids. if there's something that we can do that will make sure that this never ever, ever, ever happens again, of course i'll support it, but i also -- >> come on, there's no standard likes that. that's why you try things. that's what public policy is about. >> i'm a concealed permit carrier, i have a glock 23, i have a shotgun. there are millions just like me. we're not the problem. i think there's common ground we should be attacking first and foremost is that mental health issue because there are maybe not the laws that we need. maybe there's not the reporting that we need. to say that's already been tackled -- >> has politics changed, harold? is wayne lapierre as you heard him to in sync with the political class on both sides of the aisle today? >> no, he's not in sync with the country. the argument i heard my friend
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lindsey graham make the argument i have a big gun at home and i'm responsible. it's like saying the speed limit is 55 miles an hour, people should trust me to drive 90. if you don't have magazines that allow you to shoot 40, 50, 100 times, that won't happen. we should all be willing to say for the safety of the country, do i real need a magazine that shoots a hundred round? can i be satisfied with one that shoots six or seven? can that still hunt? we talk about entitlements and tax reform, i think that has to be part of the conversation. i think the majority would say wayne lapierre, you're wrong. let's accept and embrace a different standard. >> you've got 35 states that don't cooperate with the fbi on background checks. you've got states now that permit gun, conceal guns in elementary schools, you've got such a patchwork quilt of states permitting guns and access to guns in places where common
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sense says they shouldn't be but certainly on these magazines. >> why not a bill that says how about federal grants for armed security in schools, address mental health, i mean, it's a conversation about culture as well as some of these gun restrictions because it sounds likes that's not where the administration is headed. >> i don't know how they get it through the house. in 1994 in a democratic-controlled house 216-214 is how the assault weapon ban was in the house, that was democratic controlled house, 258 democrats were in that house of representatives. you you're not going to see anything. maybe the magazine clip. i do think the magazine clip could you see some sort of movement there but this goes back to why the president has to get a deal before the end of the year. if the entire year is lost going two months after two months. if it bothers him they didn't get the respect they deserve from boehner, i get it. they're never going to get to
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guns, to energy, to so much they want to do. they've got to figure to get this done in a long-term way. >> i agree with some merits, armed guard -- >> but not armed teachers. >> when i went to high school in the 80s we had an armed officer. >> you can't go to a meeting in new york without taking your picture and having a security to get in the building. this is right in the heart of mid town. >> then the point is why not try reducing the ability of high-capacity magazines? isn't it possible that that could reduce the carnage? >> we tried it for ten years and it didn't work. there are millions -- >> we didn't try it. >> yes, we did. it was limited to ten. >> how do you know what would have happened? you can't prove a negative. >> the reality is there are millions of them out there. this is a second amendment right. i don't think it would
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necessarily solve the overall problem. i think the mental health is true. as far as arming everybody in schools and teachers, look, i had high school science teachers who can't negotiate a bunsen burner for goodness sake. i wouldn't suggest that we necessarily give everybody a gun, it's not for everybody. but how we deal with it in utah is going to be way different than how we deal with it in chicago. >> david, one thing that came out of your interview they've thought was interesting that the nra i didn't think would ever be on, he was calling for forcing states to participate more. if you're the obama administration and you're looking for the nra's help on something, well, forcing states to participate more on the background checks, all of these things that aren't happening, if the nra is going to do that and force these conservative republicans governors to sign legislation that did that, that would be a step. >> andrea, i want to talk about the second term cabinet. chuck hagel did not get a ringing endorsement from senator schumer or --
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>> what senator schumer said was really very revealing. if a democratic senator is not going to come to chuck hagel's defense, i think there is serious problems there. >> he did not come to his defense. this is going to be the second consecutive nomination where the president doesn't get his first choice. >> this white house cannot continue to float trial balloons and then not have them shot down. the president can't get what perceived to be rolled by opponents. the problem that chuck hagel has is he's now getting shot at from the left and the right because of his past comments, which he has now retracted and apologized for against gays. >> what is the core message of the state of the union? >> well, you tell me if there's a deal at the end of the year. the president has promised to put guns in his state of the union. which by the way, this has been a club that the white house has threatened over boehner, which is saying, hey, you are know i'm going to win the political
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argument and the white house is right but at what cost to the economy? at what cost to his own agenda? >> all right, we'll take a break here and be back in just a moment. [ male announcer ] when it comes to the financial obstacles military families face, we understand. at usaa, we know military life is different. we've been there. that's why every bit of financial advice we offer is geared specifically to current and former military members and their families. [ laughs ] dad! dad! [ applause ] ♪ [ male announcer ] life brings obstacles. usaa brings advice. call or visit us online. we're ready to help. so why exactly should that be of any interest to you? well, in that time there've been some good days.
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thanks to everyone for a great discussion here. i hope you have a happy holidays. if you're looking for a last-minute christmas gift for the history buff in your family,

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